Martyn and Louise Steedman, the owners of Mains Farm Wigwams, have converted a decommissioned Sea King helicopter into a luxury tiny dwelling that is now available to glamping and tiny house enthusiasts. Located in the countryside of Stirling in Scotland, "Helicopter Glamping" offers a unique escape away for up to five guests and comes with a spectacular cockpit lounge area that takes advantage of the views across the Carse of Stirling to the Fintry Hills.
"We have snapped up a Sea King helicopter at auction which [has been] transformed into glamping accommodation for a family of five with a quirky cockpit dining area, a mini kitchen, en-suite shower room and 'flight' deck," say the Steedmans.
The ex-Royal Navy helicopter was purchased at auction for £7,000 (approx. US $9,000) in March last year, before being transported by road and then craned into its new home on the Mains Farm Wigwams' campsite. The couple spent months restoring many of the aircraft's original features, including its exterior, while completely transforming the interior into luxurious, albeit tight, accommodation.
"We sourced some original rotor blades and replaced her tail rotors with some we discovered on eBay, as we wanted her to still look like a helicopter from the outside," say the Steedmans. "Her once peeling paintwork is a thing of the past after several days spent sanding her down and completely repainting her, whilst making sure we kept all her original signage. We thought we might have trouble finding the right shade of grey, but it turns out farm oxide paint – normally used for farm buildings or fencing – is a perfect match for her military color."
The seven-meter-long (23 ft) Sea King ZA127 aircraft interior has been converted using boat building techniques to create a warm and inviting atmosphere that also provides practicality and function. Wooden paneling clads the interior walls and wool insulation was used to insulate the cabin. The duo also added a sun dome and double-glazed doors to the aircraft, allowing for more natural light to flow through the space while also giving the impression of additional room.
The converted interior offers a comfortable setting that sleeps a maximum of five guests (two adults and three children). The unique accommodation features a double bed, a single bed in the tail, a living area with seating that can be converted into additional bedding suitable for two children, a kitchen, bathroom and private cockpit lounge. Double doors lead out onto an outdoor patio, where guests can relax and enjoy views of the surrounding landscape.
The Steedmans also kept many of the helicopter's original flight deck components, including the dashboard, roof panel switches and foot pedals, and restored all of the external lights.
"Inside, we've retained many of the Sea King's original features but have removed the bulky sonar station to make way for a shower room and mini-kitchen," the Steedmans say. "We've kept and restored all of her original lighting, so when you see her lit up a night she looks as if she is ready to take off."
Overall the Steedmans spent close to £40,000 (US$52,000), including the initial purchase price, to convert the helicopter. The aircraft is now available for overnight and weekend stays, with prices starting from £150 (US$195) per night.
Glampers can also enjoy some of the local outdoor activities and attractions, which include hiking, cycling and day trips to the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park.